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Wrapping Up 2014 with The Antiques Diva

Dear Diva Readers,

As we wrap up 2014 and I reflect on this year I’m reminded of words by Charles Dickens,“it was the best of times and…” well, the best of times! I cannot help but think “Wow!” It’s been a fabulous year of growth for us here at The Antiques Diva & Co.  We’ve grown to being the largest antiques sourcing company in Europe, offering customized buying tours in 8 countries (and counting) and working with a team of 18 locally-based guides.   If I could sum up the year in three words they would be Clients, Collaborations and Celebrations!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Party, Maison Objet, Deco Off, Editor at Large, Timothy Corrigan, Paul Bert, Serpette, Michael Boodro, Elle Décor,

We kicked off 2014 in January with our first ever Antiques Diva Paris Flea Market Fete coinciding with Maison et Object and Deco Off.   With over 150 mega VIP guests in attendance the event received great media coverage and we were able to film a special tour of the Paris Flea Market with Editor at Large.  Such was last years success we’re doing it again this January 25 2015 for our second annual fete at the Paris Flea Market in conjunction with special guests Michael Boodro, Editor in Chief of Elle Décor, one of my favorite “Frenchy” interior designers, Timothy Corrigan and the owner of the Paul Bert/Serpette, Jean-Cyrille Boutmy (RSVP now for details! You’re invited!!)

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call, Mark Cutler, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Jon Call, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Stacey Bewkes, Quintessence, Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk, Mercanteinfiera, Parma Antiques Fair,

In February (and again in September) we were able to once again take VIP groups of American Interior Designers to Mercanteinfiera in Parma, Italy. Attending this large antiques fair is always a treat, but most especially when the clients are as fun as Tobi Fairley, Denise McGaha, Jon Call and Mark Cutler!   Later in the fall we were delighted to film Stylish Shopping with Susanna Salk along with Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence for an upcoming episode on antiquing in Italy, Diva Style at Mercanteinfiera!   Watch this space! Both trips were filled with antiques sourcing, photo shoots and copious quantities of food & wine.  This month I was also delighted to add a new member to our team at Diva Headquarters – Andrew Skipper!

Then in March I hopped on a plane and headed to the USA to speak alongside Michael Bruno founder of 1stdibs at the Design Bloggers Conference. It was such an honor to meet so many talented design enthusiasts and to be able to share my story of turning a blog into a business.  Again, many lasting relationships were forged at this fantastic conference!

Just days later I was back on a plane headed for the UK. Our lovely Diva Agent Gail and I met up with Antiques Expert Judith Miller who gave our group of clients a private tour of The Bath Decorative Fair, which happened to be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Champagne fete.  Yes, Champagne does tend to follow me around.  At the end of the month, I headed back to NYC to speak at the IFDA New York Design Center. What a jam-packed month!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, San Francisco Cottage & Gardens, Joy Venturini,

Criss-crossing the USA, I then flew to Atlanta to speak at ADAC and then spoke in both Los Angeles and San Francisco (special thanks to Kneedler Fauchere for hosting a fete in my honor).  I was also delighted to attend the launch party of San Francisco Cottage & Gardens where I befriended fashion icon Joy Venturini who moments before this photo was taken officially told me I was the “best dressed” for the event!  What a treat it was to see so many clients and make new friends!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, High Point Market, Antique & Design Center, Mad Cap Cottage

Then it was time for High Point Market which is THE MEETING PLACE for all my clients and colleagues.  Here I hosted – what else? – a Champagne tour of the Antique & Design Center after leading a Style Guide lecture on the Louis (lest you think antiques are boring… this talk involved plenty of sex and scandal to spice up the antiques and history!!!!).

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Blog Tour Milan

But I couldn’t stay long at High Point – I had to jet back to Milan, Italy for Salone to meet my Italian Diva Guide, Susan, to lead a VIP tour for Blog Tour Milan! Our lovely clients enjoyed this gorgeous city with us culminating in our party at the famous Campari Bar. After all that jet-setting, it was time to meet my husband in Tuscany for some much needed down days of relaxation at the Villa Bordoni.   I’ve been fortunate my husband has been able to travel with me on some business trips as I criss-cross the globe and we met in exotic destinations.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Spring Market, D&D Building, Antiques in the 21st Century,

May brought along plenty of client tours, including taking The Antiques Roadshow Magazine on tour throughout Belgium. But then in May it was back to the States for Spring Market at the D&D in New York where I spoke on a panel about Antiques in the 21st Century. Then in June a life-long dream of mine came true! We kicked off our first Antiques Diva Venice Tours with our new Diva Guides Orseola and Chiara! Exploring this enchanted city on the arms of two locals has given me access to a world I never thought I’d know as an insider.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Las Vegas Market, Antique Trend Forecast, Design Tastemaker,

July took me to The Windy City of Chicago for a speaking engagement at the Randolph Street Antique Market where I did a promo spot on ABC in Chicago! Then it was off to Las Vegas Market where I spoke on Antique Trends and was delighted to be named one of their Design Tastemakers!!

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Anantara Elephant Camp, Golden Triangle,

August brought some much needed down time in Thailand as my husband and I traveled to Thailand together to spend time at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok followed by shopping in Chiang Mai (Watch this space for upcoming Diva News! Will the Diva Do Asia?) followed by an amazing week at the Anantara Elephant Camp in the Golden Triangle learning to drive my own elephants.  Taking in this magical place was truly what we needed after all the hustle and bustle of this whirlwind year!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Steve Nobel, Nobelinks,

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Decorative Fair, Battersea, Traditional Home, Antique Markets in London

In September I was back in London, leading a VIP tour alongside industry sage and icon Stephen Nobel. Taking in exciting inspiration and sourcing unique antiques was the name of the game—along with lots of bubbly, bien sur! By the end of the month I was back again in London, taking a lovely journalist from Traditional Home on a special tour which coincided with The Decorative Fair at Battersea.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Gotha Biennale, Fall Market, Darcy Fulton, Jackson McCard, John Rosselli, Bunny Williams, Treillage, Art and Antiques Fair Parma Italy

Then in October after spending time in Italy for Mercanteinfiera I flew back to the Big Apple to speak at the D&D Building for Fall Market. But I couldn’t stay long because up next was High Point Market where I spoke yet again about my Antiques Diva Style Guide. High Point is always like a reunion! Such a pleasure to see so many familiar faces.  Before I knew it, I was back to Italy for another VIP event – attending the opening night gala at the Gotha Biennale with special VIP guests Darcy Fulton of John Rosselli and Jackson McCard of Bunny Williams’ Treillage!

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Olga Granda-Scott, The Highboy, Doris Athineos, Traditional Home Antiques, Jonathan Burden, Antiques in the 21st Century

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, Holiday House New York, Justin Shaulis, Gallery Hopping in Miami, Louis Navarrete,

In November we capped off the year with our last Antiques Diva event as I returned to NYC, speaking alongside the grande dame of antiques Judith Miller, Traditional Home magazine antiques editor Doris Athineos and Olga Granda-Scott of The Highboy at Jonathan Burden, Antiques and Works of Art. I was also able to go to the opening night gala of Holiday House New York with my dear friend and client Justin Shaulis whose room “Gallery Hopping in Miami” was simply a show stopper!  I was also particularly partial to client Louis Navarrete’s Bohemian Rapsody!

All these events… and I’ve not mentioned the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS YEAR.  As a company my 18 guides and I served more clients than ever before! Our busiest week of the year  we had more than 25 clients spread across 6 of our tour countries!!!!  Thank you for your support, your love and…baby, we quite simply could not do it without you.

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, Year in Review, ICEHOTEL, Arctic Circle Dog Sledding, Reindeer Sledding in the Arctic, Northern Lights, New Years Resolutions

And that brings us to December where I’ve fallen into a pile of exhaustion as we entered our slow season,  as I spent my holiday in the Arctic Circle.  You must add the ICEHOTEL to your bucket list. It’s amazing.  I’ve spent the last week dog sledding in the tundra, reindeer sledding (and making one too many sightings as those buggers crisscross the roads in the Nordic) and stargazing while watching the Northern Lights. All in all I’d say it’s been a full, fun and fabulous year.

As we prepare for 2015, I can’t help but think that the BEST is still ahead!  This past year has had many highs (and a few lows as well) and the lesson here has been on priorities. In January 2014 I told my husband my goal for the year was to jump off cliffs…. free falling to see where these risks I was taking would take me.  The year has yielded more returns than I ever expected.

Thank you to all of my clients, friends, family and followers for everything and I look forward to seeing all of you in 2015!!! Let’s make it a great year!

Happy New Year,

The Antiques Diva®


Take a Seat Charity Auction

Dear Diva Readers,

I’ve just flown in to NYC to speak at the D&D Building for Spring Market but the timing worked out perfectly for me to also attend the Take A Seat Charity Auction for the  International Furniture and Design Association – where I’ve donated a period Louis XV French Fauteuil.  This Rococo upholstered beechwood arm chair is older than America and proceeds from this chair will go to “chair-ity” – proceeds gifted will go to non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity.

And while my donation was titled “Viva la Diva – French Fauteuil” with a little plaque perhaps it should have been titled, “It Takes a Village” because when it comes to giving back, it’s better when we all participate.   That’s exactly what happened with my donation. Let me share the story with you

It all began in March of this year at the Design Bloggers Conference, where I was speaking alongside Michael Bruno of 1stdibs. Alan Rauta of Cromatti attended the talk and won the $5000 gift certificate grand prize donated by Michael Bruno to one of the attendees.   In attending the conference Alan said the main thing he learned about blogging was that blogging was about sharing, and thus he donated $4000 of his prize to 4 of the bloggers – $1000 each – that he met at the conference whom he found most inspirational.


Alan Rauta of Cromatti

I was honored to be one of those bloggers and decided to make this the gift that keeps on giving by using my gift certificate to purchase a chair from 1stdibs and donate it to the Take A Seat Chair-ity Auction.

As I researched what European antique chairs were available on 1stdibs in the USA  I sought out vendor Trace Mayer because he has has consistently good quality pieces at great prices.   I found a chair in his collection that epitomized The Antiques Diva®  Style.  I contacted Trace to buy the chair so I could donate it.  Trace, upon hearing I was donating the chair to charity, offered me a substantial discount off the purchase price to make this donation even more possible.


I love how a community came together to make this one donation possible!  “It takes a village” to change the world one chair at a time!

From Michael Bruno of 1stdibs to Alan Ruata of Cromatti to me to Trace Mayer, a 1st Dibs vendor – each of us have contributed to make this donation possible!

I was thrilled my dates in New York overlapped with the auction so that I was able to attend the event in person!  Now I can’t wait to see the final person in our village who buys the chair!

The Antiques Diva®

Stage Design at Design Bloggers Conference

Dear Diva Readers,

While speaking at the Design Bloggers Conference last week in Atlanta I had the pleasure of sitting on this gorgeous stage set designed by Currey & Co.  I participated in a panel with 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno and Kyle Hoepner, Editor of New England Home, speaking on the topic of Content Building for Luxury Brands.

Design Bloggers Conference 2014

Design Bloggers Conference 2014

Currey & Co is well known in the design industry for their lighting, but they also offer a wide variety of products like garden accessories, furniture, rugs, and upholstery.  Curry & Co takes pride in their original design work, meticulous craftsmanship, and careful attention to detail.  You can see the touch of the human hand in their products as a result of their multi step hand-finishing process. For Design Bloggers Conference 2014, Curry & Co provided beautiful furniture, textiles, and flowers in bright vibrant hues for the main stage of the three day conference.  They really set the stage for chic design!


Even more an honor than sharing the stage with Currey and Co’s gorgeous designs was the opportunity to meet Bethanne Matari and Cecil Adams – two of the most connected innovators  in the design scene. I am very much looking forward to visiting their showroom in person this April when I speak at the Antiques Center at Highpoint on Tuesday 8 April at 5pm.  Hint hint – rumor has it they have the best wine of all the showrooms at Highpoint.  Can’t wait to spend time with this crew!

Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®

Design Bloggers Conference 2014 Toma Clark Haines

PS:  To book an Antiques Diva Tour or inquire about our Buying Services so you can source antiques abroad virtually, email

The Antiques Diva to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference 2014

Dear Diva Readers,

I am so excited to be speaking at the 2014 Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 4th!  The event – held March 2- 4, 2014 is the event of the year for interior design bloggers, new media innovators, and interior design industry leaders from all over the world.  Other speakers include Jeffrey Alan Marks, Candice Olson, Timothy Corrigan, and Suzanne Kasler among others!  To say that I’m honored to be in such esteemed company would be an understatement.

design bloggers conference AtlantaIn this time of computers and smart phones, I have found social media to be the best way to connect with our wonderful clients, friends and potential customers.  Offering helpful insights and unique content is what we do at The Antiques Diva® & Co – not only on our tours – but on our website, blog, and social media pages (be sure to like us on Facebook @The Antiques Diva & Co  and follow us on Instagram @theantiquesdiva).  We love seeing what our customers and colleagues are looking for and social media allows us to communicate with them in a fast, up-to-the-minute manner.

michael bruno  Design bloggers ConferenceCaption:  Michael Bruno, Founder and Chairman of 1stdibs

That being said, I will be speaking alongside Michael Bruno about The Role of Social Media and Content Building a Luxury Brand.  Michael is a true visionary and the founder and chairman of 1stdibs, the world’s largest online luxury marketplace for antiques and vintage design.  I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with Michael!  

It’s always a fun time when I cross the pond and visit the USA to meet top bloggers and design geniuses.  Stay tuned to The Antiques Diva & Co social media pages because we’ll be bringing you the inside scoop from our fabulous 3 days at this year’s Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta!

Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®

Toma Clark Haines  Design Bloggers ConferenceCaption:  Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva – photo by Laila McCubbin Jones

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1:1 custom antique buying tours in 8 European, 6 Asian countries and America, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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